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How does this medication work? What will it do for me?

Deucravacitinib belongs to the class of medications called selective immunosuppressants. It is used to treat adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, for whom systemic therapy or phototherapy are considered appropriate.

Plaque psoriasis is a non-contagious skin condition in which parts of the immune system become active, causing redness and pain, because of inflammation. This medication works by blocking an enzyme called tyrosine kinase, a chemical in the body that contributes to the immune response. Deucravacitinib reduces this immune response and the inflammation that occurs with these conditions. 

This medication may be available under multiple brand names and/or in several different forms. Any specific brand name of this medication may not be available in all of the forms or approved for all of the conditions discussed here. As well, some forms of this medication may not be used for all of the conditions discussed here.

Your doctor may have suggested this medication for conditions other than those listed in these drug information articles. If you have not discussed this with your doctor or are not sure why you are taking this medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

Do not give this medication to anyone else, even if they have the same symptoms as you do. It can be harmful for people to take this medication if their doctor has not prescribed it.

How should I use this medication?

The recommended dose of deucravacitinib is 6 mg taken by mouth, once daily.

The tablet should not be crushed or chewed. Swallow the tablet whole, with food or on an empty stomach.

Many things can affect the dose of medication that a person needs, such as body weight, other medical conditions, and other medications. If your doctor has recommended a dose different from the ones listed here, do not change the way that you are taking the medication without consulting your doctor.

It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

If you miss a dose, skip the missed dose and continue with your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one. If you are not sure what to do after missing a dose, contact your doctor or pharmacist for advice.

Store this medication at room temperature, protect it from light and moisture, and keep it out of the reach of children.

What form(s) does this medication come in?

Each pink, round, biconvex, film-coated tablet, laser printed with "BMS895" "6 mg" on one side in 2 lines with nothing on the other side, contains 6 mg of deucravacitinib. Nonmedicinal ingredients: anhydrous lactose, croscarmellose sodium, hypromellose acetate succinate, magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose, Opadry® II Pink (iron oxide red, iron oxide yellow, polyethylene glycol, polyvinyl alcohol, talc, titanium dioxide), and silicon dioxide.

Who should NOT take this medication?

Do not take this medication if you are allergic to deucravacitinib or any ingredients of the medication.

What side effects are possible with this medication?

Many medications can cause side effects. A side effect is an unwanted response to a medication when it is taken in normal doses. Side effects can be mild or severe, temporary or permanent.

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor.

The following side effects have been reported by at least 1% of people taking this medication. Many of these side effects can be managed, and some may go away on their own over time.

Contact your doctor if you experience these side effects and they are severe or bothersome. Your pharmacist may be able to advise you on managing side effects.

  • acne-like rash
  • small bumps or pimples, blisters on skin
  • sores on the inside of lips, gums, tongue, or roof of mouth

Although most of the side effects listed below don't happen very often, they could lead to serious problems if you do not seek medical attention.

Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:

  • increased frequency and severity of cold or flu symptoms (e.g., sore throat, cough, nasal congestion)
  • signs of infection (symptoms may include fever or chills, severe diarrhea, shortness of breath, prolonged dizziness, headache, stiff neck, weight loss, or listlessness)
  • symptoms of herpes simplex (e.g., pain or itching around mouth or genital area, small, red blisters, or sores)
  • symptoms of shingles (e.g., painful blisters, rash on a small area of skin on one side of the face or body)
  • symptoms of a urinary tract infection (e.g., pain when urinating, urinating more often than usual, low back or flank pain)

Some people may experience side effects other than those listed. Check with your doctor if you notice any symptom that worries you while you are taking this medication.

Are there any other precautions or warnings for this medication?

Before you begin using a medication, be sure to inform your doctor of any medical conditions or allergies you may have, any medications you are taking, whether you are pregnant or breast-feeding, and any other significant facts about your health. These factors may affect how you should use this medication.

Galactose intolerance/glucose malabsorption:  This medication is prepared with lactose. If you have lactose or galactose intolerance you should not take this medications.

Infection: This medication reduces your body's response to infection. People taking deucravacitinib are at an increased risk of developing serious infections that can be difficult to treat and may cause hospitalization or death. These infections include tuberculosis and fungal infections, as well as infections caused by bacteria and viruses. These infections are more likely to occur if you are taking another medication that reduces the activity of the immune system.

If you have been exposed to tuberculosis, have a history of serious or recurrent infections or have medical conditions that may increase the likelihood of developing infections, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed.

Liver function: Deucravacitinib is broken down by the liver. Liver disease or reduced liver function may cause this medication to build up in the body, causing side effects. If you have liver problems, discuss with your doctor how this medication may affect your medical condition, how your medical condition may affect the dosing and effectiveness of this medication, and whether any special monitoring is needed. Your doctor may want to test your liver function regularly with blood tests while you are taking this medication.

Vaccines: Live vaccines such as yellow fever, BCG, cholera, typhoid, varicella, meningococcal, and diphtheria should not be given while you are taking deucravacitinib. They work by administering a small amount of live bacterium into the body to cause the body to develop defenses against them. When they are given at the same time as a medication that may reduce the strength of your immune system, it may cause a severe infection.

Pregnancy: This medication should not be used during pregnancy unless the benefits outweigh the risks. If you become pregnant while taking this medication, contact your doctor immediately.

Breast-feeding: It is not known if deucravacitinib passes into breast milk. If you are breast-feeding and are taking this medication, it may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor about whether you should continue breast-feeding.

Children: The safety and effectiveness of using this medication have not been established for children.

What other drugs could interact with this medication?

There may be an interaction between deucravacitinib and any of the following:

  • medications that suppress the immune system:
    • corticosteroids (e.g., dexamethasone, hydrocortisone, prednisone)
    • medications used to treat conditions such as cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or medications used after a transplant

If you are taking any of these medications, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Depending on your specific circumstances, your doctor may want you to:

  • stop taking one of the medications,
  • change one of the medications to another,
  • change how you are taking one or both of the medications, or
  • leave everything as is.

An interaction between two medications does not always mean that you must stop taking one of them. Speak to your doctor about how any drug interactions are being managed or should be managed.

Medications other than those listed above may interact with this medication. Tell your doctor or prescriber about all prescription, over-the-counter (non-prescription), and herbal medications you are taking. Also tell them about any supplements you take. Since caffeine, alcohol, the nicotine from cigarettes, or street drugs can affect the action of many medications, you should let your prescriber know if you use them.

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